Del Rio faith-based community lending a hand to Haitians in need

Food, refreshments also going to DPS, US Border Patrol

DEL RIO, Texas – The faith-based community in Del Rio has helped more than its share of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, but the thousands of arrivals from Haiti were a first.

“It’s been an eye-opener for me,” said Shon Young, president of the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition. “It looked like a third world country, maybe even a fourth world country, if there is one.”

Matt Mayberry, the lead pastor of City Church Del Rio, where Young also is pastor, said, “From our perspective, being a pastor, we have a great opportunity to love people who are in desperate need of it.”

Even if it’s in the form of much-needed items like water, juice, snacks, sandwiches, baby food and diapers,” Mayberry said. “There’s a lot of people that that just need a welcome.”

They said their volunteers also offer food and refreshments to the U.S. Border Patrol agents and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers who have responded to the emergency in Del Rio.

“We’ve been able to bless a whole lot of people, not only refugees,” Mayberry said. “Our church has been able to be an impact in all of their lives.”

If people in San Antonio want to help, Young said the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition website has a where donations can be made, as well as an Amazon wish list.

Young also said big box stores in San Antonio also has many items in bulk that could be helpful.

Mayberry said donations also can be specified for Haitian relief on the City Church Del Rio website under tithes and offerings.

Mayberry and Young pointed out that they do not buy plane tickets for the refugees. They said many already have money they’ve saved for their journey.

But if they need money, Young said, cell phones and free WiFi are available for them to reach their families back home.

Politics aside, Mayberry said, “Whether we are on opposite sides of a political spectrum shouldn’t determine the way that we respond to one another when someone is in need.”

Young said many people may have their minds made up until they meet a refugee face-to-face.

“It becomes real. He’s not the headline. He’s not the news story of the day. It’s the actual person that’s sitting right in front of you,” Young said. “That changes a lot of things.”

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About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Bill Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.